Today the Biden administration outlined a series of aggressive steps for the country to require COVID vaccine shots in order to participate in day to day life.
This speech from the President serves as a confirmation from the rumors circulating throughout earlier in the day about what the US government’s plan is. Joe used the opening of his speech to reflect on the amount of progress on vaccination that the country has undergone since he took office.
The criteria covers key sectors when it comes to mandates: private businesses, federal agencies, and the education system.
According to the New York Times, roughly 27 percent of the US population ages 12 and up have not gotten any COVID vaccine at all. “Nearly 80 million Americans” are not vaccinated, according to President Biden.
He believes that can cause a lot of damage in overcrowding hospitals for people with other maladies. The President also made mention of “elected officials” in states that seemed to be working against the federal agenda. But also, conversely, Joe reassured that a majority of Americans were “doing the right thing” in getting the jab.
President Biden believes COVID vaccines provide “very strong protection” and that only one out of 5,000 vaccinated Americans face infection.
Below is the six point list outlined by Joe Biden in his speech to push the vaccination progress forward. He called it “not nearly as bad as last winter” and that “we have the tools” on the federal level to fight against “pandemic politics.
- Vaccinating the Unvaccinated: Biden says with the approval from the FDA, the time for waiting is over. Four million more got vaccinated in August than July. The President believes it’s not about freedom or personal choice but those around you. To that end, the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule for all employers with 100 or more employees (80 million employees total) to ensure they are fully vaccinated. He’s also requiring vaccinations for all who work in hospitals, home health care facilities, and that’s around seventeen million healthcare workers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid . Biden is also requiring all federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated. Require all federal contractors to be vaccinated, with the Department of Labor will give workers paid time off to get vaccinated.
- Further Protecting the Vaccinated: Biden bought enough booster shots to accommodate tens of thousands right of way across the country as soon as it gets FDA approval.
- Keeping Schools Safely Open: Biden says children ages twelve and older need to get vaccinated. Kids under the age of twelve should have everyone around them vaccinated. When it comes to schools, ninety percent of school staff and teachers are vaccinated, says Biden. Now Biden is requiring all nearly 300,000 teachers in the federal Head Start program to be vaccinated since that’s under his jurisdiction. The President says governors ought to require vaccination for all teachers and staff, but also made note of elected officials in states that are “undermining” (referencing DeSantis) his authority. To address that, the Department of Education is taking legal action against states “undermining protection” against COVID. Bottom line is that any pay taken away by states, will be restored by the federal government. Other measures include providing addition funding to school districts for safe school reopening and making sure students and school staff are tested regularly.
- Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking: The White House is seeking to increase testing and masking. The defense production act will increase production of rapid tests. Expand free testing at ten thousand pharmacies around the country. Two billion dollars for three hundred million tests. The transportation safety administration will double the fines on travelers who refuse to mask. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are expected to sell them at cost. Other measures include requiring to continue masking on federal property.
- Protecting Our Economic Recovery: Biden says unvaccinated people will undo the progress. Expanding COVID disaster loan programs for small businesses to borrow up to two million dollars if the pandemic impacts their sales. They don’t need to be paid back for up to two years.
- Improving Care for those with COVID-19: Surge response team by the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, and the Defense Department have deployed 100,000 staff into eighteen states. Biden has announced doubling that manpower and the availability of medicines.
In the case of public sector areas like the US military, the White House had more leverage to institute mandates sooner.
It was the middle of July that the CDC director called America’s situation a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” A few weeks later was the last significant moment from the federal government in terms of guidance. They said even vaccinated people should mask up again in light of the Delta variant.
When it comes to the booster shot situation (beyond the standard "two shots" of COVID vaccine as it was first introduced to the American people), Fauci urged to wait for FDA approval whereas the World Health Organization said countries should abandon such plans for the rest of the year.